New GP contract pledged by coalition government

The coalition government has confirmed it will renegotiate the GP contract in its first detailed plan.

The Coalition: Our programme for government pledges to further incentivise access to primary care in disadvantaged areas.

The document says a 24/7 urgent care service will be developed in every ‘area' of England, with a single urgent care number and new technology improving access to doctors.

The coalition government is also committed to abolishing practice boundaries. The document says: 'We will give every patient the right to choose to register with the GP they want, without being restricted by where they live.'

GPs will also be given greater incentives to tackle public health problems and handed more power to commission services for patients.

‘We will strengthen the power of GPs as patients' expert guides through the health system by enabling them to commission care on their behalf,' says the document.

The Conservative pre-election promise to cut the number of health quangos features in the plan, but specific organisations are not named.

The coalition also aims to cut the cost of NHS administration by a third and ‘transfer resources to support doctors and nurses on the front line'.

Continuous improvement of services will be achieved by ‘much greater involvement of independent and voluntary providers', according to the 34-page coalition plan.

The NHS section also includes proposals for an independent NHS board that will allocate resources, and a move towards value-based pricing at NICE.

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